Mushkin 997070 16GB & 994071 32GB Redline Memory Review

ccokeman - 2012-07-11 19:08:02 in Memory
Category: Memory
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: July 26, 2012
Price: $129-$259

Introduction:

Memory capacities keep rising it seems with each new platform that comes out. Along with the increase in capacities comes an increase in speed that drives latency down and responsiveness higher. Intel's X79 platform has the ability to utilize up to 64GB of system memory in a quad channel configuration while the Z77 platform is still limited to dual channel configurations with  four DIMM slots rather than the eight available on most X79 boards. Ivy Bridge processors like the Intel Third Generation Core i7 3770K can still take advantage of up to 32GB of system memory due to the incredible memory controllers they have for the most part and can use this capacity with all four DIMM slots populated. Content creation is one of the drivers for increasing capacities with some programs actually utilizing up to 64GB of system memory to process the work stream.

At CES this year I saw more than a few demos with DRAM suppliers set up to show off what kind of performance the additional capacities can provide in terms of usability and the user experience mainly in terms of content creation. Today what I have to look at are a pair of modules from Mushkin. Each of the kits part numbers 997070 and 994071 utilize 8GB DIMMs to provide the 16GB and 32GB capacities of these Redline enthusiast level kits. Both offer timings of 10-10-10-27 at 1866MHz using just 1.5v applied to reach these latencies and speeds. Both sets are equipped with the latest versions of the Frostbyte (997070) and Ridgeback (994071) heat shields to deliver excellent cooling performance in any situation. Priced competitively at $129 for the 16GB kit and $259 for the 32GB kit, Mushkin is bringing the value and performance cards to the table. Let's see what these modules have to offer in terms of memory performance and overclocking to see if we still get "More"!

Closer Look:

Packaging for the 16GB Redline modules is a standard clamshell that securely holds the modules in place. Offering a full view of the modules, the front of the package shows the modules against the latest Mushkin messaging that includes the Mushkin Enhanced logo and "Get More" slogan. That is something that has held true in just about every set I have looked at going back several years. The back side of the packaging has a brief set of installation instructions, the part number (997070), capacity 916GB) and latencies (10-10-10-27). Basic but effective.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting with part number 997070 we have a 16GB kit of modules. Mushkin's 997070 16GB kit is designed to run at 1866MHz with latencies of 10-10-10-27 using just 1.5v in lieu of a more popular rating of 1.65v. This kit is equipped with Mushkin's Frostbyte heat shield that has proven so successful over the years. The sleek slim design has been a staple of Mushkin's modules. The Redline logo adorns one side with the Mushkin Enhanced logo and warranty tag on the other. The warranty tag shows the speed, latency, voltage and capacity. These module are supported with Mushkin's Lifetime Warranty in case there is ever a failure. What is interesting with these modules is that the Frostbyte heat shield design has changed with the removal of the clips that were used in the past to hold the modules together.

 

 

 

The packaging of the 994071 modules is a step above the clam shell design used on the 997070 kit. The package is designed to hold a "Quad Pack" or four modules. The front of the package has a window that shows the contents; in this case a quartet of Mushkin's Redline Ridgeback equipped modules. Prominently displayed on the front of the package is the Mushkin Enhanced logo and "Get More" slogan. The bottom right has the SKU tag with information about the capacity and rated speed. The rear panel has a list of attributes that include Enhanced Bandwidth, Optimized Timings, a Lifetime Warranty and that all of the Mushkin Performance modules are hand tested. That is something OCC was privileged enough to see when we visited Mushkin's facility last year. Inside the package are two clamshell packages that hold the four modules that make up this quad pack kit.

 

 

 

Part number 994071 is part of Mushkin's Redline lineup and is rated to run at speeds of 1866MHz using the latencies of 10-10-10-27 with 1.5v much like the 16GB 997070 kit. To reach the 32GB capacity of the kit, four 8GB modules are used instead of the two used to build up the 16GB kit. As part of the Redline lineup these modules are designed for the enthusiast. Equipped with the Ridgeback heat shield, these modules are designed to handle a higher thermal loading than the Frostbyte design. The angled fins allow the design to easily shed the thermal load of 1.5v as well as up to the 1.7v I used in my overclocking tests. The front side of the modules have the Mushkin Enhanced logo and warranty decal that provides the specifications for this kit. The opposite side has the Redline logo in bold script. A lifetime warranty is standard on this kit in case something does go wrong. Mushkin has been in business for close to 20 years and it stands behind its products.

 

 

 

Each of these kits is rated at 1866MHz and should provide decent performance at this speed along with the capacity to cover just about any demand.

Specifications:

 

Kit #
997070
994071
Type:
DDR3 UDIMM
Voltage:
1.5V
Speed Spec:
PC3-14900
Frequency:
1866MHz
Capacity
997070
994071
Kit Type:
Dual Kit
Quad Kit
Module Size:
8GB
Timings
tCL:
10
tRCD:
10
tRP:
10
tRAS:
27
Cooling Technology
Heatsink:
FrostByte Redline
Ridgeback Redline

 

Features:

 


All information courtesy of Mushkin@ www.mushkin.com/Memory/Redline/994071.aspx

Testing:

Memory is often hard to separate from one kit to another in gaming, but when it comes to number crunching and computing, some memory provides an extra boost in comparison. To see just what kind of performance this kit has to offer, I will be running the modules through a series of benches to see just how they compare. There will be 8GB, 16GB and 32GB kits ranging in speed from 1866MHz - 2400MHz, tested at native speeds as well as overclocked. Overclocking of course will be dependent on exactly how far the testing rig will allow, but I'll push it as far as I can. The testing setup used for these benchmarks is listed below, where Turbo Boost has been disabled to eliminate uncontrolled clock changes that may skew the results. The CPU will be run with default clock speeds for baseline testing and bumped up to 4.5 GHz or as close as possible to the speed where possible for OC testing. All current updates and patches are installed for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit and the current AMD Catalyst driver of 12.6 is used for the video card.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Modules:

CPU-Z: This application visually shows the settings that we have chosen in the BIOS. Items shown in this application include CPU speed and bus settings, motherboard manufacturer, BIOS revisions, memory timings, and SPD chip information.

CPU-Z

 

Task Manager: We use this utility to show physical memory, kernel memory, page file, and processor usage.

Task Manager

 

Overclocking:

Overclocking the Mushkin 997070 and 994071 kits was dependent on what the modules and CPU would allow. Starting with the 994071 32GB Redline Ridgeback modules, I was able to push this quad pack kit up to an impressive 2202MHz or 336MHz (18+%) over its rated speed. To get to this clock speed I used a combination of tweaking the memory timings and applied voltages to the modules and memory controller. The defined memory ratios are hard jumps in speed with 2133, 2200, and 2400 as the options available in the BIOS on the M5G. 2400MHz would boot with 1.75v but would not pass Memtest test eight even with 13-13-13 timings so at best it would be a suicide screenshot-only speed. Reaching 2202MHz required running the bclock to 103.2 using the 2133MHz divider and manually tweaking the TRFC to 283, loosening the timings to 11-12-12-28 2T, and pushing 1.665v to the modules with 1.08v to the memory controller. Higher voltages or looser timings did not offer significant increases or added stability. I would have thought that I could reach a much higher clock speed with the 16GB 997070 kit than I did. I used the same methods used with the 32GB kits to reach 2288MHz using roughly the same voltages and timings with the 16GB 997070 kit running tighter timings at a higher MHz. This kit still would give me the same issues reaching 2400MHz so I stayed with the 422MHz increase on this Redline 16GB kit. Any which way you cut it these modules deliver speed with reasonable timings. Tighter timings can be run with additional voltage applied at the baseline speeds if that is the way you want to go. The trend of getting more seems to be holding true with these modules, especially with the ability to run at 9-9-9-28 using 1.65v.

 

 

997070  16GB                           994071  32GB

 


The maximum memory speed for each set of overclocked modules is indicative of how well the modules ran on this test system. As such, your results may differ in either a positive or negative way based on the capabilities of your hardware. In other words, your mileage may vary!

 

The benchmarks used in this review include the following:

Benchmarks:

Testing:

PCMark Vantage: With this benchmark, I will be running the system suite, as well as the memory test suite. The measurement for the system suite will be the total score. The measurement for memory performance is the total memory score.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

 

PCMark 7 is the latest iteration of Futuremark's popular PCMark system performance tool. This latest version is designed for use on Windows 7 PCs and features a combination of 25 different workloads to accurately measure the performance of all PCs from laptops to desktops.

  

  

  

  

Higher is Better

 

Geekbench 2.1 provides a comprehensive set of benchmarks engineered to quickly and accurately measure processor and memory performance. Designed to make benchmarks easy to run and easy to understand, Geekbench takes the guesswork out of producing robust and reliable benchmark results.

   

   

   

 

Super PI Mod 1.5 is a program designed to calculate Pi up to the 32nd millionth digit after the decimal and is used as both a benchmarking utility and simple stress test to check your overclock before moving forward with more rigorous testing. The world records for this benchmark utility are hotly contested.

   

 

Working through the tests we see that memory speeds hold an advantage in some of these tests, most notably the Geekbench and SuperPi tests. This is of course an expected result when the Trident X modules hold a 533MHz clock speed advantage.

Testing:

SiSoftware Sandra 2011: In this program, I will be running the following benchmarks: Cache and Memory, Memory Bandwidth, and Memory Latency. Higher is better in all tests, except for Memory Latency, where lower is better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

   

 

AIDA64 Extreme Edition is a software utility designed to be used for hardware diagnosis and benchmarking. I will be using the Cache and Memory benchmark to test each module’s read, write, and copy bandwidth, as well as the latency test.

  

  

  

  

Higher is Better

 

In all these tests both speed and latencies are a point of difference when putting a number behind on the performance delivered.

Testing:

Part first-person shooter, part survival horror, Metro 2033 is based on the novel of the same name, written by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. You play as Artyom in a post-apocalyptic Moscow, where you'll spend most of your time traversing the metro system, with occasional trips to the surface. Despite the dark atmosphere and bleak future for mankind, the visuals are anything but bleak. Powered by the 4A Engine, with support for DirectX 11, NVIDIA PhysX, and NVIDIA 3D Vision, the tunnels are extremely varied – in your travels, you'll come across human outposts, bandit settlements, and even half-eaten corpses. Ensuring you feel all the tension, there is no map and no health meter. Get lost without enough gas mask filters and adrenaline shots and you may soon wind up as one of those half-eaten corpses, chewed up by some horrifying manner of irradiated beast that hides in the shadows just waiting for some hapless soul to wander by.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

Looking at the gaming performance delivered by these sets of memory from Mushkin there is not a real need at this point for mass quantities of memory to significantly drive gaming performance. The margins between the comparison and review kits are limited more by the GPU than the memory in a traditional gaming scenario.

Conclusion:

Looking at these two kits of memory from Mushkin shows that it has another pair of kits that deliver performance indicative of their specifications and more. First up are the distinctive good looks and functionality of the cooling solutions employed on each kit. The 32GB kit part number 994071 uses the "Ridgeback" design. This robust heatsink package uses a series of angle shaped (think Mushkin logo) fins on top of a thick body to effectively wick away the thermal load generated by these high density modules. Packing them into a four DIMM configuration like used in the testing will allow a higher heat load to be retained but is nothing to be concerned about. Using an air cooled CPU cooling solution would fix that issue as once air starts moving over the modules they cool down fast. The Frostbyte heat shield used on the 997070 modules is less robust but is still quite effective at shedding the heat load. The Frostbyte heat shield looks to have gotten a redesign that eliminates the clips used in the past to secure the halves of the shield to the modules. No worries though as the heat shields were seemingly more secure without them. Both the 994071 and 997070 kits are rated to run at 1866MHz using 10-10-10-27 timings with only 1.5v. In this respect the robust heat shields are overkill, but then again stock is not always what we run and the modules are equipped for almost every scenario including some serious over voltages. When it came to overclocking, these modules had what it takes to deliver high speeds without seriously loosening the timings. The 32GB kit was able to reach 2202MHz equal to a 336MHz bump in speed. The 16GB Frostbyte equipped kit reached even further with a 422MHz (22+%) boost in speed without significantly looser latencies at 11-11-12-28. Performance-wise the Mushkin modules deliver what the latencies are capable of delivering with performance in some test matching the 2133MHz rated comparison 32GB kit. Overclocking of course brings significant increases in performance with increases in both CPU and memory speeds. CAS Latency and raw speed both have impacts to performance. Finding that balance when overclocking is the key. The Third Generation Core i7 3770K seems latency tolerant allowing even CAS latencies of 11 and 12 to offer good performance. Memory module density increases allow the end user to populate all of the DIMM slots on a motherboard to maximize memory capacity. Not everyone will need or want to have this kind of capacity, however consumers heavily into content creation seem to run into memory limits, as if there is never enough system memory. These two kits from Mushkin can alleviate that concern and more. In a Z77 setup like that used for the testing you will be limited to 32GB of memory in a dual channel configuration. On an X79 platform you can use up to 64GB of memory in a quad channel configuration, perfect for the 32GB kit to take advantage of its speed and capacity.

Priced aggressively at $129 for the 997070 16GB kit and $259 for the 994071 32GB kit you get a lot of memory for your money allowing you the ability to maximize the potential of your system. By hand testing each of the modules it sells, Mushkin is confident of the product it puts out and backs these modules with a lifetime warranty to go along with the good looks and performance. Once again I find that Mushkin has brought an excellent set of memory to market that offers nice overclocking margins with performance to match. Get more... Indeed!

 

Pros:

 

Cons: